You can’t grow a garden without seeds and you can’t harvest without someone to tend the plants. The same goes for projects, like the aquaponics garden at New Danville. What Mike Bodman and his family planted as a project has been maintained by Wranglers under the guidance of Direct Support Professional, James Scott, and the efforts of Wranglers and many volunteers.

James & Mike

Mike’s middle son is a Wrangler, and in his involvement with New Danville, he saw that a great greenhouse was being greatly underutilized. A sequence of actions moved from concept to construction of a hydroponics garden and aquaponics operation.

“The Wranglers love it,” James said. “And I do, too. I’ve learned a lot from Mike and his volunteers, and sometimes I get advice from my uncle who is a great gardener. Some Wranglers get bored quickly, but others love to get dirty and work hard. Personally, I love being able to grow something that becomes food for others to eat. My grandfather was a farmer too; this is in my blood.”

Mike said that there are plans for doubling the fish tank volume and quadrupling the planting area. “When we reach this scale we hope to be reliably producing enough fresh produce to sell to local businesses and employ a few Wranglers to operate the system on a daily basis. Already the system is supplying herb plants for sale at Jazzy Junque. The great part is that the Montgomery County Master Gardeners Association Aquaponics team and other Master Gardeners have come to visit New Danville and like what they see. As COVID restrictions ease more MG’s want to get involved as volunteers at New Danville. They have some interesting ideas for Wranglers to become involved in.”

New Danville may not be pushing the Green Giant out of the valley anytime soon, but over time it will become better known for its tasty produce.

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